What Are The Best And Worst Years For The Dodge Challenger?

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Dodge released its pony car back in the 1970s and labeled it the Dodge Challenger, which came at the apex of the muscle car era.

This market was quick to fade, and after four years of service, the Dodge Challenger vanished from the market only to come back in 2008.

From 2008 since, it has seen yearly models to this year, featuring its same iconic 1970s Challenger-inspired style, which has remained mostly intact over the years, coming in a coupe and convertible body styles.

I will now list the best and worst years for Dodge Challenger and discuss why I rank each of them as so.

Best Years for Dodge Challenger:

  1. 2019
  2. 2020
  3. 2008
  4. 2018
  5. 2021
  6. 2017
  7. 2016

Worst Years for Dodge Challenger:

  1. 2012
  2. 2013
  3. 2011
  4. 2014
  5. 2015
  6. 2010
  7. 2009

Later in the article, I will talk about the frequently asked questions regarding the model and the common problems affecting it so without further waiting, let’s get into the best years of the lineup.

List Of The Best Years For The Dodge Challenger: What Years To Buy

The best years of the Dodge Challenger offer many great features and little to no issues, being the most reliable cars of the lineup.

#1 Best Year: 2018 Dodge Challenger

Undoubtedly the best model in the entire series, the 2018 Dodge Challenger is 1st on my list because it uses the world’s most powerful V8 engine, which can push 840 HP like it is nothing, capable of going from 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds and having 770 pounds of torque which should give you a hint of the power this car packs.

This car easily outshines competitor supercars such as the Bugatti Chiron or the Ford Mustang GT350 in terms of power and sheer force, capable of lifting its front wheels off the ground when giving full acceleration for full acceleration the first 3 feet while it travels.

What further makes this model an exemplary one is that it is available in a staggering 13 different trims, which offer a lot of variety in them, making them more widely available to a much bigger target audience which further helps this car in providing customers with exactly what they are looking for.

#2 Best Year: 2019 Dodge Challenger

The reason why I ranked the 2019 Dodge Challenger in second place is that it has a solid interior, a turbocharged V8 engine, a stylish exterior, and is usable in any weather conditions due to its AWD, making it a great vehicle all around and the best of the lineup.

This model is available in 6 different trims and has a lot of variation, coming in with a V6, V8, or a V8 turbocharged engine, rear-wheel drive & all-wheel drive, and 6 & 8-speed transmissions.

This car offers the most power you can get, all in an attractive style, making it a very satisfying car overall, and could have easily taken first place if it had the same number of trims as the 2018 version.

#3 Best Year: 2020 Dodge Challenger

The 2020 Dodge Challenger offered minor improvements over the 2019 Challenger and came in with one less trim, so I decided to give it number 3 on this list.

Mostly it is quite similar to the 2019 Challenger in that it offers a lot of power with its specialized and supercharged V8 engine but is also available in V6 or normal V8 models.

The rest is also the same story with the 2-door design and different types of transmissions however the thing which this model has a leg up on is that it gets a stitched dashboard and upper door panels.

All the trims also have updated wheels available, making it a prime candidate for third place.

#4 Best Year: 2008 Dodge Challenger

Despite only being available in a single trim, the 2008 Dodge Challenger offered a lot of power, style, and paint choice and was the model which brought the Dodge Challenger back into the spotlight, which is why I placed it at 4th place.

The car had limited production and only featured a performance version to push a whopping 425 HP with its Hemi V8 engine.
It offered seating for five people and featured an improved interior which was quite better than the models back in 1970.

This, along with independent suspension and 5-speed automatic transmission, made this car a force to be reckoned with. This newly brought back Dodge got a lot of praise and support, which allowed the lineup to flourish.

#5 Best Year: 2021 Dodge Challenger

While claiming itself as the world’s quickest and most powerful muscle car, it does not have to stand against the 2018 model, making the Dodge Challenger fall down the ranks.

The reason why it gets 5th place is that the car received a lot of great ratings on its powerful, supercharged engine, comfortable interior, and a wide variety of customization available.

Moreover, it is similar to the 2019 model when it came to transmission and engines, along with the 2-door style however this model also came with a wide-body version which gave it a bit of its own identity.

Once again, if you are looking for a powerful and fast muscle car, then Dodge will not disappoint, especially not the 2021 model, which is simply amazing.

#6 Best Year: 2017 Dodge Challenger

The 2017 Dodge Challenger is sitting at 6th place because it is simply inferior to the models above it.

This does not mean that the model is bad by any means to buy the models above it offer a lot more power and speed than the 2017 model, which says a lot since this model can churn out 305 HP in its standard engine alone and can go from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds.

It offers a roomy interior with many amazing features, such as a great multimedia system and performance page, which gives you an in-depth look at your driving performance and statistics. The car is available in 10 different trims.

#7 Best Year: 2016 Dodge Challenger

The 2016 Dodge Challenger sits at last place because it is quite similar to the 2017 Dodge Challenger but has significantly fewer trims, being only 6 when compared to the 2017s 10 trims.

This, however, did not stop the model from having the same roomy interior and features as the 2017 model. In many cases, the 2017 Dodge Challenger can be seen as a direct upgrade to the 2016 model, yet I rank this model below it.

As for if you should buy this particular model, absolutely as it is also definitely worth your consideration and has received praise from many of its customers over the years and has established itself as a great muscle car.

List Of The Worst Years For The Dodge Challenger: What Years To Avoid

Like any other vehicle, the Dodge Challenger has had some model years that were not so great.

Here are some of those years below:

#1 Worst Year: 2012 Dodge Challenger

Coming in number one in this list of worst years is the 2012 model of the Dodge Challenger.

This year’s model is labeled as the worst year overall for the Dodge Challenger because of the myriad of problems that this vehicle had. This model had the largest number of complaints compared to all other models of this car.

Most of the issues faced by this model were related to electrical problems. The most common problem faced by users was the one where the alternator would randomly go out. This was faced by people who had just bought the car brand new.

Other than that, there were problems like the engine just refusing to start until you call over a mechanic or the smart door/windows latch killing the vehicle’s battery.

Some safety issues were mostly linked with the car’s brakes—all of these combined to make it the worst car in the lineup.

#2 Worst Year: 2013 Dodge Challenger

The 2013 model of the Dodge Challenger faced many issues as well, and like its predecessor, the 2012 model, they were mostly electrical problems.

However, they were less prevalent than the aforementioned previous model, which is why I have put it in second place in this list.

There were problems with the automatic windows not working properly. According to the complaints seen, the problem was random because it would sometimes work fine for a while but randomly stop working and then begin working just fine.

Other than that, this model also faced problems with its alternator going out, which is something it inherited directly from the 2012 model. The model also faced the problem of excessive fuel consumption.

#3 Worst Year: 2009 Dodge Challenger

Number three on our list is one of the comparatively not-so-recently released models. That is the Dodge Challenger’s 2009 model.

This model had most of its problems linked to the vehicle’s engine. The most prevalent of which was the engine turning off while driving. This was extremely dangerous as it was known to happen even at high speeds.

Other than that there were also problems like the fuel consumption not being economical. Another very glaring issue with the vehicle was related to the body and paint job of the car.

The hood seal was known to come off easily, and the paint would flake off, making way for rusting. This was quite disappointing for something at the price tag that this vehicle came at.

#4 Worst Year: 2010 Dodge Challenger

The 2010 model of the Dodge Challenger faced most of the problems that the 2009 model above faced.

Even though it did not face the problem of fuel consumption as badly as the previous model, it still has some of its problems, which is why I have placed it in fourth place in this list of worst years.

The timing chain of this model tends to fail prematurely. You could be driving and face something that felt like a loss of power.

This problem could also damage the block, and those parts were known for being out of stock most of the time. The other major issue with this model was inherited, and it is an issue with the paint flaking off and the car starting to rust a lot.

#5 Worst Year: 2011 Dodge Challenger

Coming up on number five of this list is the 2011 model of the Dodge Challenger. Now, credit where credit is due, this model did fix the major body and painted rusting issue.

However, it brought back the issue of excessive fuel consumption, which gives it this place on this list of worst years. Along with that, there were some reports of fuel leakage as well.

However, most of the other problems related to this vehicle were related to the car’s electrical systems. There were several cases where the vehicle’s alternator died out because of the battery discharging.

This could be very dangerous if it happened on the road while driving, which means a complete loss of power.

#6 Worst Year: 2014 Dodge Challenger

The Dodge Challenger was yet another model that faced many problems, which brings it on to number six on this worst year’s list.

Most of the problems faced by this 2014 Dodge Challenger were related to the engine, and although they were relatively easy to get fixed, it was still annoying to see them present in a brand new vehicle.

The AC and heater problems were widely reported. There were complaints about the AC not working at all since the day the car was bought, some saying that the AC works better was the heater given that it blew hot air.

And when it came to winter, the heater had the opposite problem. It would stop working after like five to ten minutes of usage.

#7 Worst Year: 2015 Dodge Challenger

Last on this list is the 2015 model of the Dodge Challenger. This model was the one with the least issues. However, they were issues nonetheless, so it has been placed last on this list.

Most of the problems in this model were related to the vehicle’s transmission. There were also some problems related to the car’s cooling system.

Although there was never any explicit reason identified, at least not any that I could find, the transmission system would mostly require an overhaul because of not work properly.

And among the other major problems was the overheating of the engine that has been mentioned earlier as well.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Dodge Challenger?

Despite being an overall powerful muscle car with a lot of force to back it up, the Dodge Challenger is not immune to problems and suffers from various issues that span across many models over the years.

Some of these issues are quite common and affect multiple models. I will be listing and explaining some of these common problems to understand what problems you can face when owning this car and how bad they can be.

1. Interior Issues

Most of the focus was on providing powerful and fast cars. It wouldn’t be surprising if the interior took a bit of a hit.

Well, that was what happened with the Dodge Challenger, whose interior suffered from a faulty air conditioning system that would blow hot air or fail.

Another major issue regarding the interior was related to airbags where, upon activation, the airbag would explode and launch metal fragments to the passengers. This issue was quite infamous and led to the recall of millions of cars.

2. Faulty TIPM

The Integrated Power Module that the Dodge Challenger adopted during its revival has been known to cause problems to various customers.

This module was responsible for all of the electric operations of the vehicle, so you can imagine the problems which would happen if it was faulty.

It leads to many annoying instances where the starter crank would fail, the horn would go off randomly, and the power windows would randomly work or stop working entirely.

What’s worse is that it would cause the airbags to activate, which made it very dangerous with the Takata issue.

3. Transmission Issues

Many cars can have transmission problems, and the Dodge Challenger is no different.

The transmission of the models between 2009 and 2016 had the brunt of the problems where the owners reported facing harsh shifting for no reason at all, as early as 34,800 miles.

This would be accompanied by a weird metallic noise and a “thump” sound upon shifting. Sometimes the transmission would not shift at all, which can get very annoying quickly.

The company updated the transmission for later models, so they shouldn’t have these issues. However, this still leaves older models vulnerable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Do Dodge Challengers Last Long?

Regardless, as long as you give the car the care it needs, it can last you a long time.

By driving an average of 15,000 miles per year and making sure to take care of your car, your Dodge Challenger can easily touch last for 16 to 20 years, during which its total travel distance can be 250,000 miles.

If you take extra care of your vehicle and make sure to drive it within its limits, you can easily stretch this across 300,000 miles which is a considerable distance.

For more information, you can also read this article: How Long Do Dodge Challengers Last?

Q2. Are Dodge Challengers Popular?

Muscle cars, in general, are quite popular, and the Dodge Challenger is no exception. It was released in the peak era of muscle cars back in 1970, but the market soon turned to other cars.

Luckily the 2008 revival led to the resurgence in popularity of the lineup, and it went on to the 2018 model, which is highly regarded and has one the most powerful engines in the world.

It is one of the best-selling sports cars of 2021, which speaks volumes of its popularity, being a very popular muscle car among fans of the body style.

Q3. Is A Dodge Challenger Expensive To Maintain?

Being a high-power sports car means that the Dodge Challenger will require a pretty penny to maintain.

During its first ten years alone, the Dodge Challenger will take up $8,436 for maintenance and repairs, which is quite high compared to the industry average, being $1,265 higher.

During this time, the car also has a 24% chance of requiring a major repair, costing you even more than you thought. Regardless of these costs, the Dodge Challenger remains a solid car worth the extra money to maintain.

Q4. What’s Better Dodge Challenger Or Charger?

The Dodge Challenger and the Dodge Charger are like two sides of the same coin, where the Challenger focuses on power and performance.

At the same time, the charger dedicates itself to safety and convenience. The Charger has better safety features and offers more passenger space, cargo space, and long-term value.

The Challenger, however, gives you the ultimate performance, all at a better price. If you are looking for a fast and powerful car, the Dodge Challenger is your pick. If you want something safe and roomy, then definitely look at the Dodge Charger.

Q5. Is The Dodge Challenger Good In The Snow?

While coming in with an AWD system which should solve most of the weather problems, the Dodge Challenger does considerably well in light snow and decent in a good amount of snow.

The car struggles with low ground clearance, which could give you trouble when driving through the snow, which is more than 4 inches, so I wouldn’t recommend driving through heavy snowfall.

Still, for a moderate amount of snow, the Dodge Challenger should not give you any issues at all, making it a great vehicle for traveling in the snow.

Conclusion

The Dodge Challenger is one the greatest muscle cars currently out in the market and gives you the nostalgia and feel of driving the classic muscle car from the 1970s and still retains most of the iconic look and feel of that model.

Since then, the lineup has seen amazing models such as the 2018 model, widely regarded as the most powerful and fastest muscle car.

That being said, the Dodge Challenger has its fair share of problems, as is evident by the 2012 model, which had a plethora of problems.

Using this article, you should now be able to figure out the best and worst years for Dodge Challenger and avoid all the less popular and problematic models.